IHS delays IPO valuing towers firm at RM40b

Johannesburg • IHS Towers Ltd has postponed an initial public offering (IPO) that would have valued the company at as much as US$10 billion (RM40.3 billion), according to people familiar with the matter, because of concern that a sale may take place too close to an election in its home market of Nigeria.

Africa’s largest tower company, whose shareholders include Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Wendel SA and South African wireless carrier MTN Group Ltd, was seeking to raise about US$1 billion in New York, said the people, asking not to be identified as the details aren’t public. The share sale may now be postponed until next year, they said.

A representative of IHS Towers declined to comment.

IHS Towers joins Helios Towers plc and Eaton Towers Ltd in deferring plans for a listing in 2018. All three had been seeking to cash in on a booming African phone-mast industry, boosted by rising wireless device use amid growing populations and a surge in mobile subscriptions on the continent.

The listing of Lagos-based IHS will be deferred until at least after Nigerian presidential elections scheduled for February, said the people. Investors are also seeking confirmation that the planned sale of struggling IHS customer 9mobile — Nigeria’s fourth-biggest mobile-phone company — will go ahead, according to one of the people.

Teleology Holdings Ltd agreed to buy 9Mobile, formerly known as Etisalat Nigeria, earlier this year after a consortium of banks seized control of a 45% stake in 2017. — Bloomberg